Release date: 05/07/2022

It is with great sadness that I rise in this chamber today to acknowledge the passing of a remarkable South Australian, William (Bill) Spurr AO.

Mr Spurr, as many of you will know, is one of our most respected and admired public figures here in South Australia. His celebrated service to the South Australian tourism industry, in particular, is without equal. He was a pioneer that put South Australia on the map for interstate and international travellers whilst serving as South Australian Tourism Commission Chief Executive from 1998 to 2007, achieving record levels of visitation.

Being a very proud Blackwood High School student, and then later going on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Economics and Diploma of Teaching, Mr Spurr’s illustrious career in the tourism and hospitality industry began when he was appointed Executive Director of the South Australian Hotels Association in 1981. He then went on to become Head of the Tourism and Hospitality School at the Adelaide College of TAFE, a role he held until 1992.

Mr Spurr served as Adelaide Convention Bureau Executive Director for four years from 1992, and when South Australia lost the Grand Prix in 1995, the South Australian Government turned to Mr Spurr to be its inaugural Chief Executive of ‘Australian Major Events’ in order to attract and establish new events.

Mr Spurr was also incredibly passionate about the education sector. He was Chair of StudyAdelaide (formerly Education Adelaide) for more than 11 years (2006-2017), and again left an indelible footprint by way of establishing Adelaide as a preferred destination for international students.

Mr Spurr served on the Adelaide Venue Management Board for more than 20 years in total, including as the current Chair, a position he has held from 2015. He was a valued member of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust and Zoos South Australia boards also.

Mr Spurr was a Board Director for the Sealink Travel Group for 10 years (2007-2017), a Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee member from 2014-2019, and an Adjunct Professor of Tourism at Flinders University.

Mr Spurr was a Centenary Medal recipient in 2001 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2015. As stated, it’s been a remarkable contribution and journey.

At just 75 years of age, William (Bill) Spurr AO has gone far too early. He was a generous, warm and caring man, and a mentor to many young professionals and leaders within our community. He leaves an extraordinary legacy.
We say thank you to Mr Spurr for all his incredible contributions to our State. On behalf of the South Australian Government, I express our condolences to his wife Helen, his children Debbie and Craig, and all his family.